Trying something new and going to rip through quick reviews of recent places I’ve been to feast. I’ll include three restaurants, a brief cocktail review and at least something I’ve cooked or someone’s made for me lately. This time I took on restaurants in the Nana area. There you can find plenty of North Indian and middle eastern cuisine, but it can be tough to tell what’s worth your time and belly space. I enjoy exploring this halal hood and have made probably just as many mistakes as I have discoveries of awesome places. Today’s spots mostly come from the Sukhumvit 3/1, aka “soi arab” and the party/nightlife soi Sukhumvit 11.
Al-Iraqi Restaurant Bangkok (Sukhumvit 3/1)
This spot has been located in the back of Sukhumvit 3/1 for more than a decade, quietly serving up regulars who dine there or are staying in the hotel. Arrive there and go for the cozier hotel side of the restaurant with the nicer seating. You’ll need something cushy to lean against once the large naan breads arrive.
The hummus (hamoos, 120 THB) arrives smooth, but slightly more sour than you’re used too and the mixed kebab platter (Mixed B.B.Q., 330 THB) is truly a mix of delicious mutton kebabs and dryish chicken and teeth-straining beef. The surprise was the eggplant curry which look unappetizing, but was delicious. Service was good, but not great at recommending dishes to newcomers. Also don’t go overboard when ordering or you can easily rack up a big bill and more food than you could possible devour from the giant menu.
Location: 8/17-18 Nana Nua, Sukhumvit 3/1 Road, Bangkok 10110
Charcoal Tandoor Grill and Mixology
I’ll try and get a more full review of Charcoal later. I’ve already mentioned it’s one of the few places in Bangkok to get decent Indian paan. That’s not all they’ll be known for though, they’re serving up smokey, well spiced and delicious kebabs along with eclectic breads. The photo above is their Sikandar ki Raan (1500 THB) and entire lamb leg, tender and delicious.
Drinks at Charcoal focus mainly on cocktails, many of them infused with distinctly Indian flavors, like the dark rum old fashioned (350 THB) made with their own betel nut bitters. The atmosphere is also pretty enticing, but all coming at a significant toll on the wallet (especially if you hit the cocktails hard). Check it out when you’re ready to splurge on Indian food.
Location: Fraser Suites Sukhumvit Hotel, 5th Floor, Sukhumvit Soi 11, Bangkok 10110
Shahrazad Middle Eastern Restaurant
Of all the places on this list, Shahrazad has to be the most disappointing. I took friends here expecting an epic meal with the occasional dish of strange ingredients, but found most of the food below par. The grilled kebabs were tough, overcooked, and tiny for the price. Same is true if you decide to order an entire dry chicken/pigeon for your table of hungry people.
The hummus, baba ganoush and breads still amazing, but unfortunately not enough to confidently recommend this Shahrazad Restaurant to others as I have in the past. An off night maybe? Otherwise how can you warm up to the lamb brains, testicles and other bizarre items on the menu when the grilled chicken or barbecued pomfret don’t hit the spot?
Location:6/8 Sukhumvit 3/1 Road, Bangkok 10110
Manhattan Cocktail at Apoteka Bar
Great live music makes up for the lack of a full bar scene. The bartenders can make your standard drinks, but don’t venture beyond the menu and expect them to adapt. For example, I wish the Manhattan I was served was made with as much interest in being drinkable as it was cute. It could have instead been used to fuel a car, but the gin bramble was good. Still the live blues music was great, so just enjoy the tunes and keep your cocktails basic.
Location: Sukhumvit Soi 11, Bangkok 10110 (Near the Le Fenix Hotel)
Homemade Sai Bhaji and Paan Flavored Ice Cream
Keeping with the theme of today’s post I’ll end with an great meal at a friend’s house. After chaat samosas, the main dish was sai bhaji, a Pakistan type of spinach curry combined with crispy chips, yogurt, and fragrant basmati rice. The crunch from the chips, which start crackling when they hit the curry, gave the curry plenty of texture and the yogurt topping made it easy on the stomach. This vegetarian treat was washed down with ice cream covered in sprinkles and supari dates, giving the vanilla ice cream the flavor of paan!
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P.S. Check out the new tab on the site for Bangkok restaurants by neighborhood to help you navigate the past reviews. You’ll see there’s plenty of other interesting places in the Nana area already covered included the No Name Shwarma, Khana Kazana, Bamboo, and more.